Re-introducing Dhrupad

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Pursuing the music therapy course these days, is making me listening to every music according to that perspective. My mind subtly enters into the questioning zone while listening to any music, whether this piece is healing or not.

The other evening, I was listening to Pt. Uday Bhawalkar’s raga Bhimpalasi Dhrupada piece, and I felt I was captivated physically. While listening to his fast-paced rhythmic, versatile, superfluous, rendition of the Bhimpalasi notes, I was as if witnessing my brain knots unleashing my breath mollifying. I wanted to move from my place, but was totally mindful and entangled. I could feel my hormones and senses getting balanced. I stayed in that state for 20 minutes till when it got over. After which I stared at the things surrounding me; I went to the balcony and greeted all the sounds of nature. I could concentrate in the chirping and tweaking of birds clearly, (what we don’t do usually). I was absolutely in the present. I gazed at the setting sun, produced a thought, ‘Allz well’, and stepped inside. This was the time I was normalized. But I was reminiscing what it was; What was the factor that made me feel good, albeit I am aware of the power of music.

Defining Dhrupad

Dhrupad too is a vocal style like khyala-gayaki, which is also exhibited and unfolded in a particular raga, although in different style, structure and tonality. It is a highly structured, classicalized way of chanting vedic mantra and hymns. Lets first have a quick introduction of Dhrupad.

During vedic period, when there was nothing dhrupad existed in the name of Prabandh. Then even after many modification and bringing down to simplicity, Dhrupad is still journeying today. Dhrupad is an oldest genre of Hindustani classical vocal music, which exists even today. Apart from the Khyala singing which is also called Ragadari sangeet,

Here are some definitions of Dhrupad given by the maestros.

Dhrupad was originally sung in temples and later thrived under the patronage of the Mughal rulers who were acclaimed Dhrupadias. Almost every gharana or the Music tradition, be it gwalior, or Agra, were initially the Dhrupad Gharana and eventually formed the Khyala school of music. Today, a few number of Dhrupad tradition schools are in the trend such as Vishnupur Gharana, Dagarvani, Darbhanga, Betia, Talwandi, etc..

Dhrupad exponents

Since last 10 decades, the synonymous of Dhrupad Gayaki is Dagarwani or the lineage of Dagar Bandhu (brothers). Eminent figures like Nasir Moinuddin, Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ustad Hussain Sayeedudddin Dagar have taken forward on its zenith by their competence and by transferring the pedagogy to the comtempories. All the Dhrupad Singers today like Gundecha brothers, Pt. Ritwik Saniyal, Pt. Uday Bhawalkar are the disciples and torchbearers of Dagar and Dhrupad tradition as well.

Connection with the Cosmos

Considered as the sound of meditation and worship, its mantric recitation comprises of an organised, elaborated and complex grammar and aesthetics. One needs to have a proper pedagogy of voice culture and engineering, as it deals with the cosmic sounds and intonations. Fundamental to Dhrupad singing is the practice of Nāda Yoga, in which, through various yogic practices, the singer develops the inner resonance of the body, and can make the sound resonate and flow freely through the entire region from navel to head. Even the Dhrupad maestros experience very transcending connections through the pedagogy of Dhrupad. 

Dhrupad Gayaki consists of an elaborated, consistence, flawless, rhythmic nom-tom Alap in a raga, followed by a Dhrupad bandish, Layakaris (Bandish rendered with magical rhythm and incredible meter of the same tala and tempo which is going on), Bol baant, Gamak, and finally the fast-paced overly extended, highly skilled nom-tom rhythmic cycles.

How It Heals

Chanting of mantras and hymns, as in Dhrupad, can be thought of as tools that liberate the mind. Mantra is a Sanskrit word which means ‘mental liberation’. It awakens the life forces that exists in the human souls and directs the mind towards the transcended state. Constant listening and rendering of these cosmic sounds delivers the mind from its worldly conditioning and brain limitations.

Aum sound is unnecessarily associated with Hinduism albeit it has been taken up in the Sanskrit shlokas and mantras Hinduism being the oldest culture. But Om is just a sound which exists in the cosmos. Sun makes a sound that never reaches earth. NASA laboratory in space captured sound and recorded. Most astonishing that the sound resembles “Om”. Scientists are still trying to correlate why ancient Hindu mantra and sun’s sound are same. I might not want to enter into this segment as this is another wide area, but Dhrupad incorporates all these cosmic sounds and its oscillations, which gradually enhances the cognition by its ultimate ability of developing mindfulness. In fact, Dhrupad rendition is more systematic and calculative procedure of these mantras intermingled with the Raga aesthetics and classical improvisation.

In the journey of self improvement, wellness, and moving inward, it is good to be in confusion rather than fixing a conclusion, because everything has to be self-realized rather than read or preached. Therefore, in this abstract concepts, let’s try this another experiment of internal healing by listening to the mantras in the form of Dhrupad. May be you are very far from exploring a new ray of bliss and intellect.

I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.
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I am an Indian Classical Vocalist, Journalist, Dancer and Traveler. Trying to educate via my Blogs.

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